President of MBA Polymers wins Innovation Award

The Economist announced that Dr. Michael Biddle, founder and president of MBA Polymers, will receive the Energy and Environment award at its Innovation Awards ceremony, which was held on October 21, 2010 at the Science Museum in London.

Dr. Biddle founded Michael Biddle & Associates in his garage in 1992 to demonstrate that it was possible to recycle plastics from complex waste streams. MB&A was expanded to a pilot line in Berkeley, California and renamed MBA Polymers in 1994 after he brought on his former colleague, Laurence Allen.

From this humble beginning, MBA Polymers now has headquarters and a research center in Richmond, California, and recovers materials from a variety of sources, including computers, electronics, appliances and automobiles. The company has developed numerous proprietary processes for separating polymeric materials from highly complex waste products. These are then reused in a number of different applications, making it a more sustainable option than using new virgin plastics. MBA’s process requires less than 10 percent of the energy compared to making plastics from petrochemicals.

Commenting on the award decision by a panel of independent judges, Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist said, “With this award, the judges have recognized Michael Biddle for the outstanding contribution his innovative way of dealing with plastics has made to improving the environment. MBA Polymers and the U.S. Department of Energy estimate that 12 billion pounds of mixed durable plastics are discarded in America each year. By using MBA’s recycled plastic pellets as raw material, plastics manufacturers can save lots of money and significant amounts of energy. MBA’s sorting technology also means that material that might otherwise end up in landfill can be recycled.”